Guest Author - Sylvie Leochko
The Warty newt is also known under other names such as: the Great Crested newt or the Northern Crested newt. It is an amphibian that belongs to the Salamandridae family. Its natural habitat is located in parts of Europe and Asia. In fact, the covered area goes from Great Britain to the North of the Alps and the Black Sea.
This amphibian is nocturnal and mostly terrestrial as adults. Despite that fact, it always lives close to its breeding pond by a distance varying between 200 m and 800 m (1/2 mile). Being close to water is important as the Warty newt needs water to keep its skin moist. Its shelter is usual located beneath a rock, a log, a shrub, etc.
Most of its life is passed in hibernation. This phase starts in October and concludes in March. During a rainy night in March, newts will come out of hibernation and will go to their breeding pond for the mating season. During this period, the newt will hibernate either underneath logs and stones or in the mud located at the bottom of the breeding pond.
In fact, the male gets its other names of Great Crested newt and Northern Crested newt from the fact that during the mating season, it grows a large crest on its back and part or its tail.
Reproduction occurs without any contact between the male and the female, during mating. In fact, the male lays a bag of sperm called a spermataphore, from its cloaca, which is a reproductive and excretory opening. Then he will move sideways, in front of the female to invite her to pick it up with her cloaca. She will then lay 2 or 3 eggs every day, from March to mid-July, which will bring it to an approximate total of 200 to 300 eggs. The eggs are laid and carefully wrapped in the leaves of aquatic plants. Only half of the eggs will hatch in 21 days. The larvae are called: efts or tadpoles.
Tadpoles will feed on small insects such as water fleas, worms, tadpoles and insect larvae. Fish are their main predator. As adults, these carnivores will mostly feed on: invertebrates, worms, insects, water snails, insect larvae, other newts, tadpoles and young froglets.
The Warty newt gets its name from the little bumps that cover its skin. These bumps secrete a milky and smelly substance that usually scares predators away. The top of its back is usually a mix of a dark grey-brown color. Its flanks are usually covered with white specks while its stomach is yellow or orange, in color. The tail is flat and has a white line on each side.
The crest on the back differentiates the male from the female, during the mating season. The females also have something different from the male. In fact, there are two differences besides the crest. There is a yellow-orange stripe on the lower edge of its tail and an orange stripe on the top of the lower back and the tail.
The size of the Warty newt makes it the largest newt in Europe. It can reach a length of 18 cm (7 in) and usually weighs 6.3 g to 10. 6 g (022 to 0.37 oz).
Since 1940, the Warty newt population has decreased, explaining the European law protecting this endangered species. The cause for this depletion was the loss of natural habitat due to civilization.
Surprisingly, the Warty newt has a long life expectancy, in the wilderness. It is an average of 16 years, although it varies between 10 and 27 years.
The Warty newt needs our help to protect it from extinction. Since we are the main cause, let's help them populate their natural environment while cohabiting side by side.
Here are some resources linked to the Warty newt.